Police arrest 11 in major sweep of "ice" houses 04-02-03

PHONE: 961-2244
APRIL 2, 2003


Big Island police arrested 11 persons Wednesday (April 2, 2003) in a major sweep of “ice” houses in Puna and a vehicle traffic stop in Hilo.

Assisted by the department’s Special Response Team (SRT), community policing and Juvenile Aid Section officers and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Hilo and Kona Vice squads raided three “ice” houses in Puna and executed a search warrant of a vehicle in Hilo. During the Puna raids, they also had Fire Department rescue personnel standing by because of “high risk” entry by SRT members into ice houses reportedly containing firearms.

In addition to the arrests, the officers recovered 26 grams of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice.” They also seized smaller amounts of crack cocaine, marijuana and what appeared to be pharmaceutical drugs and confiscated $600 in cash, two handguns and three rifles.

Police Chief Lawrence K. Mahuna called the raids part of “a continuing effort of Operation Meltdown.”

“We will continue to focus on high level drug dealers of crystal meth and other hard drugs,” Chief Mahuna said.

Addressing the public, he said: “We need your support in identifying possible ‘ice’ houses in our communities, and we will continue to work with concerned members of the public in ridding the Big Island of this dangerous drug.”

Mahuna noted that crystal methamphetamine has been linked to both violent and property crimes, especially by young people.

The eight males and three females arrested for possession of illegal drugs and paraphernalia are being held in the police cellblock until police can confer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office over possible federal gun charges under “Project Safe Neighborhood.”

While executing the four search warrants, officers encountered two minors — one an infant and the other a juvenile. The infant was turned over to the Child Protective Services, and the juvenile was placed in the custody of his grandparents.

During the operation, police raided residences in Fern Forest, Hawaiian Acres and North Peck Road. Ten of the suspects were arrested in Puna and one was arrested after a Hilo traffic stop on Tuesday afternoon.

Acting Lieutenant Marshall Kanehailua of the Hilo Vice Section said the Special Response Team was called in after police received information that two of the ice houses contained illegal firearms.

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